The menu is petite—three crêpes, French onion soup, salad of the day, and a few panini—and the pastry case has lots of white space between confections. But from tables around us, big words are heard: “Magnifique! Formidable!” New Estelle Gourmet in Larchmont is small itself, but a couple of marble-topped tables in a narrow storefront belie a back area with more tables and a large, glassed-in room with a well-equipped setup for cooking classes. Estelle Lebbrecht, herself an import from France, expanded her catering business into this café a few months ago, and it’s a good fit for the village, which has a sizeable French population.
Tea, crêpes, and other flavors of France are available at this unassuming Larchmont gem.
“I fell in love with the salad,” the man next to us said. The rice-based salad, chock full of asparagus, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, artichoke, and olives, wins you over with its creamy, mustardy dressing. His companion raved about the onion soup. But my daughter and I were there for crêpes. We watched as the batter was blended in the back room; we followed as it was brought to the griddle up front, raked across its surface, and folded with ham and cheese (the other flavors are Nutella and sucre/sugar). Sometimes it seems that almost anyone can set up a crêpe station these days, but Estelle’s are among the best we’ve had. From a teapot, we poured Mariage Frères Vert Provence tea, an intoxicating blend of green tea, fruit, lavender, and rose, into floral-patterned teacups as accordion music floated through the air. There was a bit of a wait, but we weren’t in a hurry. For dessert, we selected chouquettes—hollow choux pastry puffs sprinkled with pearl sugar—and mixed fruit mousse with whipped cream.
1971 Palmer Ave
(914) 834-5400; estellegourmet.com